Hillary Clinton conceded the White House race to President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday morning, saying she hoped "he will be a successful president for all Americans."
"This is not the outcome we wanted or work so hard for. I'm sorry we didn't win this election vision for our country," the Democratic nominee told supporters crowded into a small, nondescript ballroom at the New Yorker Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
It was a much different venue from where the first major party female presidential nominee had hoped to deliver a victory speech, last evening from the Javits Convention Center — on a stage shaped like the United States of America underneath a glass ceiling in a massive convention hall.
Clinton seemed to be choking back tears at times, as did her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who spoke just before her. Flanked by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, the disappointment and shock was palpable on their faces and among the still-stunned supporters in the room.
"I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too," Clinton said. "And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort."
"This is painful, and it will be for a long time," she admitted. "But I want you to remember this — our campaign was never about one person or one election. It was about the country we love. Building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted."
Clinton urged her supporters to "accept the result and look to the future," saying she "still believe[s] in America and I always will."
"We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transition of power. We cherish it," Clinton said of the GOP president-elect, who had refused to say many times during their very contentious campaign whether or not he would accept the results of the election should he lose.
And, she acknowledged that even with the historic nature of her candidacy, she had fallen short of becoming the first female U.S. president, failing in a historic upset that neither polls nor pundits saw coming. For now, that task falls to a new generation of women leaders.
"Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling," Clinton said, "but someday, someone will and hopefully sooner than we think right now."